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LAHORE: In a landmark move, the governments of Pakistan and Dubai have solidified their economic ties through the signing of two inter-governmental framework agreements, securing a comprehensive investment pact exceeding $3 billion.

The significant deal, inked at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, encompasses cooperation in railways, economic zones, and infrastructure.

According to the spokesperson of Pakistan Railways, the collaboration aims to enhance various sectors, including the development of a dedicated freight corridor, a multi-modal logistics park, and freight terminals. DP World, representing the Dubai government, will spearhead infrastructure improvements at Qasim International Container Terminal, Pakistan’s premier trade gateway, and is set to develop an economic zone in close proximity to the terminal.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor, a rail-based project, is strategically planned to traverse from Karachi Port on the Arabian Sea through the bustling city of Karachi to the Pipri Marshalling Yard, covering approximately 50 kilometres. This ambitious initiative aims to alleviate congestion in Karachi, enhance road safety, and significantly boost efficiency while reducing overall logistics costs.

Pakistan Railways, the national state-owned railway company, operating an extensive network of nearly 8,000 route-kilometres across the country, from Peshawar in the northwest to Karachi in the south, will play a pivotal role in the realization of these projects.

In a parallel agreement with Pakistan’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs, DP World will undertake the capital dredging of the navigation channel at Port Qasim. This collaboration aims to attract over $3 billion in foreign direct investment, with DP World leading the development of an economic zone at Port Qasim to maximize economic activity in Pakistan.

At the signing ceremony, Shahid Ashraf Tarar, Federal Minister of Communication, Railways, and Maritime Affairs, emphasized the enduring partnership between DP World and Pakistan, highlighting the importance of Pakistan as a gateway to Asia. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) and Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, expressed pride in contributing to Pakistan’s trading capabilities and affirmed the commitment to further development and connectivity initiatives, aiming to integrate Pakistan into the wider regional trade landscape.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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